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Motorsport written in our history

Motivated by the challenge, we have always yearned for something new. Since the time of Louis Renault, competitive driving has marked our history and culture.

Our first sporting achievements

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The early days

Very early on, Louis Renault became aware of the importance of sporting achievements in the development of brand image. On 24 December 1898, he proved the superiority of his first great innovation: direct drive transmission. The Type A car was the first to climb the rue Lepic in Montmartre. Following this success, Renault began to compete in motorsport and won a series of Grand Prix victories. The Renault Type K, equipped with the first engine designed by Renault, notably distinguished itself in the 1902 Paris-Vienna rally. The First World War brought a halt to motor racing in Europe, but Renault did not remain away from motorsport for long. The diamond brand returned to glory in the 1920s with the impressive Renault 40CV. Victorious at the Monte-Carlo Rally in 1925, it excelled in beating many track speed records of the time with its custom model.

Gordini's arrival

In 1958, Renault appointed Italian constructor Amédée Gordini as head of the motorsport division. The legendary Renault 8 Gordini was born. It went on to become a symbol of success for a whole generation of drivers. Its huge popularity led to the creation in 1966 of the Renault 8 Gordini Cup, the first ever one-make racing series. In July 1970, the launch of the Renault 12 Gordini led to "G Day", a gathering of Gordini owners at the Paul Ricard Circuit. The spirit of this event continues today through the World Series by Renault. At  the same time, Formula Renault made its appearance with the first cars using the engine from the Renault 12 Gordini. France hosts its first Formula Renault championship in 1971.

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Takeover of Alpine

In 1973, Renault became the majority shareholder of Alpine, a small French manufacturer founded by Jean Rédélé, with which the brand had had links for many years. 1973 proved to be a good year for the brand as the Alpine A110 "Berlinette" won the first World Rally Championship.

Renault and the top competition

Our Formula One history

Our beginnings in competitive driving

Our history with motorsport began with the arrival of Amédée Gordini, known for his Grand Prix cars. Renault built the Viry-Châtillon factory to house his creations. Thanks to Gordini, Renault concentrated first on a V6 2.0 L engine, which was unveiled in January 1973. It turned out to be competitive in the famous European 2-Litre Sports Car Championship. Bolstered by this success, Renault joined the FIA World Sports Car Championship and developed a turbo version of the engine.

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Our first steps in Formula One

Renault Sport was officially founded in 1976 while a single-seater competition programme was being launched: Formula 2, Sport Le Mans, then Formula One in 1977. Renault started out in Formula One as a team. The brand led the way with a key innovation: turbo. While its competitors used naturally-aspirated engines, Renault lined up a V6 turbocharged powerhouse. At the same time, Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud won the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans thanks to their Alpine-Renault A442B, powered by the Renault V6 turbo engine. The diamond brand achieved its first Formula One victory in 1979 in the French Grand Prix, with Jean-Pierre Jabouille at the wheel of an RS11. In the early 1980s, Renault won 15 Grand Prix and finished second in the 1983 World Championship thanks to Alain Prost, before withdrawing from the competition at the end of the 1985 season. Renault's gamble with the turbo engine, which nobody believed in at the time, really paid off.

The comeback

Renault returned to Formula One in 2001 after buying team Benetton, before officially changing the name to Renault F1 Team in 2002. The rise of Renault F1 Team coincided with that of a certain Fernando Alonso, who won two consecutive World Drivers' titles in 2005 and 2006. The new team also won two constructors' titles in the same period. In 2011, Renault wanted to focus on its activities as an engine manufacturer for other teams. Renault F1 Team was sold to Genii Capital. Renault engines then came to drive the Red Bull Racing team to World Championship victory with four constructors' titles between 2010 and 2013. Sebastian Vettel entered the record books by becoming the youngest four-time world champion in the history of Formula One.

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Renault returns as an official constructor

In 2016, we returned to Formula One as an official constructor. We have proved our worth at the heart of the sport over these past three years. We have really shined on the track with some great battles and fine performances. Off the track, we have established innovative marketing and public relations activities to increase our audience and engagement from fans. 

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